Article Lead Image

What a surveillance state looks like in GIFs

The motion-detecting system in


Fernando Alfonso III


Posted on Jun 13, 2013   Updated on Jun 1, 2021, 1:33 pm CDT

Here at the Daily Dot, we swap GIF images with each other every morning. Now we’re looping you in. In the Morning GIF, we feature a popular—or just plain cool—GIF we found on Reddit, Canvas, or elsewhere on the Internet.

First the Xbox Kinect motion-detecting system was used to track selection patterns in retail stores. A project called User 632 took the experiment one step further, attempting to figure out the habits people exhibit before even entering a store.

Between Feb. 23 and May 16, Udef, a Swiss company specializing in programmed imagery and digital interaction, used three Kinect cameras inside a store window to track “the behaviour of the people who look at it by monitoring them in return.”

“All data is being tracked and displayed publicly,” Udef wrote. “Passers-by are stored as an anonymous number without any hints to their identities. Whoever comes too close to the camera though will be stored with a photograph next to their id.”

It is unclear exactly how the technology works, but by using a combination of PHP coding, Javascript, and OpenFrameworks, User 632 used white dots to track a persons every movement.

video of the project at work was chopped up into the following GIF animations by Prostheticknowledge, a popular science Tumblr blog. The GIFs have since been featured on Tumblr’s GIF tag page and collected more than 190 notes.

This is creepy but also kinda cool,” theothersideofdrinkingglass commented.

GIFs via Udef

Share this article
*First Published: Jun 13, 2013, 9:51 am CDT